Active Research

Semillas de Apego: Nurturing Resilience in Colombia’s Youngest Amid Conflict and Displacement

University of Melbourne

In Colombia, over one million children under five have been exposed to conflict and displacement, while an additional 300,000 Venezuelan children have faced forced migration with their families. These experiences can lead to toxic stress, impacting children’s mental health, brain development, and socioemotional growth, thereby affecting their future and perpetuating cycles of poverty. To address this, Universidad de los Andes collaborated with the Child Trauma Research Program at the University of California, San Francisco, to create Semillas de Apego in 2014. This case study will examine the community-based program that focuses on improving maternal mental health and establishing nurturing child-parent relationships to protect children from adversity and support their development.

Semillas de Apego involves a 15-week course for caregivers, featuring weekly 2.5-hour group sessions that address caregiver trauma, child development, and positive parenting. Starting in Tumaco, the program has expanded to five regions and aims to reach 7 territories by 2025, benefiting thousands of caregivers and children. Since its launch, 2,717 participants have joined, including 653 in the most recent cohort.